The boys look forward to the many fun traditions surrounding holidays at the Choir School.
When Halloween falls on a school night, the Choir School goes through a spooky transformation. We have pumpkin carving contests leading up to the holiday, adorning the windowsills in the dining room. On All Hallows Eve, the 14th floor transforms into a haunted house, complete with ghosts and ghouls. Afterwards, the boys and faculty members ply their ingenuity in a costume contest.
The boys sing a morning service on Thanksgiving before going home to their family celebrations, so our school Thanksgiving begins the night before. This beloved tradition is a testament to the strong bonds between Saint Thomas students and their classmates, their teachers, and their school. Recent alumni are invited to join us on Wednesday night and play dodgeball with their former classmates, followed by a hotly-contested alumni vs. student basketball game. After this friendly competition has worked up their appetites, the students, faculty, and alumni all enjoy a decadent Thanksgiving-style dinner together.
The weeks just before Christmas are always festive, full of special services and holiday events at the school. In addition to all the special liturgical events, the boys sing two concerts of Handel’s Messiah and perform Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.
A few weeks before Christmas, a giant Christmas tree overtakes the library. With the tunes of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in the background, and with cups of hot cocoa in hand, the boys decorate the tree with trimmings, tinsel and ornaments. As a final touch, they throw countless paper airplanes from the rafters into the decorated tree.
In the days before Christmas, the boys wrap Secret Santa presents for each other, and their advisors shop for gifts they think each boy would like. On Christmas Eve, the boys sing an afternoon service followed by a Christmas dinner to which all of their families are invited.
A midnight service on Christmas Eve kicks off Christmas Day, and unwrapping the presents under the tree on Christmas morning is always a much-awaited event. Following the Christmas morning service, the boys go home for a well-deserved two week holiday.
In Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter, the boys sing a number of special services which are both musically challenging and quite dramatic. On the Saturday before Easter, the boys participate in a school-wide Easter egg hunt, looking to see who can find the most candy and searching for the special prizes hidden for each boy around the school.
Easter Sunday has three sung services: two Eucharist services in the morning, and one Evensong service in the afternoon, with a break in the middle for an extra-special Easter lunch with the families. As at Christmas, after the last service is over, the boys head home for a week of rest and relaxation.